The problem with Beady Eye’s last record ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’, in particular its frontman, was a desperation to recreate past glories instead of looking to the future.
Thankfully that gap has been bridged on BE with the recruitment of TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek as producer. Let’s be frank upfront though, this record would be a car-crash without him on board.
Lead single ‘Flick Of The Finger’ kicks things of brilliantly. It has Sitek’s influence deeply embedded with raging brass and a progressive rythym. Liam’s raw vocal is also placed firmly at the forefront of the mix, something that continues with varied success throughout the album.
Sitek’s other defining contribution comes on ‘Second Bite Of The Apple’, the album’s only other moment where brass and beats combine to form a credible, contemporary tune reminiscent of The Verve’s 2008 comeback ‘Love is Noise’.
But it doesn’t last. A dreary ballad ‘Soon Come Tomorrow’ follows and the momentum has gone. The problem lies with a complete lack of direction, ironic given that Oasis were often criticised for constantly retreading the same path. As a result songs feel like half-baked ideas, only a couple of which have been rescued by the production.
The horrifically titled ‘Iz Rite’ wants to be a summery 60’s tune, but falls flat, whereas ‘Shine A light’ and ‘I’m Just Saying’ are built on catchy riffs but with absolutely no substance. Unfortunately this means you spend far too long dwelling on Liam’s awful lyrics rather than the music. If nothing else BE is great for a game of guessing the upcoming rhyming couplets.
For all the criticisms though, it seems Beady Eye may have found a niche in the strangest of places. Despite all of Liam’s swagger and rock star bravado, it’s the slower acoustic songs that partially redeem BE.
If nothing else BE is great for a game of guessing the upcoming rhyming couplets.
The first comes in the form of Liam’s self-penned olive branch to brother Noel, ‘Don’t Brother Me’. Despite the again terrible title, it’s a touching stripped-back ballad, with more than a hat-tip to John Lennon: “In the morning I’ve been calling, I’m hoping you understand / All and nothing, I’ll keep pushing / Come on now, give peace a chance.” It’s the first emotive moment on the album where you feel like he actually cares what he is singing about.
Similarly the closing tracks ‘Ballroom Figured’ and ‘Start Anew’ are both pleasant-enough acoustic numbers that remotely tug on the heartstrings.
Of course these moments can only work against the polarity of more upbeat tracks, which, aside from Sitek’s magic on the two lead singles, are nowhere to be found. It’s a real same they didn’t give him better tunes to work with.
So for a man so full of bravado it’s a shame to see Liam Gallagher and co deliver yet another incredibly limp album. Thanks to Sitek, it’s a progression from ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’, but nothing to write home about.